The Money is in the List

"Where Did All the Ezines Go?"

I'm really worried about all the online business owners who have stopped sending newsletters, then complain about their business going to pot. They can't sell anything if they don't have contact with potential customers.

I've made a concerted attempt to subscribe to all Chamber of Commerce - on the Web™ members' publications. I may have missed a few, but I've been surprised at the outcome.

Too many don't publish at all. Others only send out ads, without even a greeting from the sender - much less an article! WOW– I wonder who is reading those?

With all the fast-paced selling over the past years online, I came to a point of feeling like we all needed a break. During 2011, I called a moratorium on selling products – except for Chamber memberships.

No – I lied. I did ask for contributions to help me get “Just Sayin' ...” launched. But, that was it. And, yes, my bottom line suffered. Yet, with the economy so unstable, it saved me a lot of worry about what was happening.

What I did not do was lose contact with my lists. Our lists are our potential buyers. I only stopped hitting them over the head to buy stuff for a year.

But, I digress. The point is, online businesses can not survive without direct contact with potential customers. So, if you have an online business, it would be to your benefit to start communicating – or, go back to communicating, as the case may be.

No, I'm sorry - social networking doesn't cut it!

RANT of the Week

"How DARE You!"

One of the complaints ezine publishers hear regularly concerns "exclusive mailings" - or "solo ads." These are emails sent to the ezine subscribers which usually contain an ad or other information. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about it.

Let's think about this logically. I subscribe to TIME Magazine - and I pay for it. Yet, TIME makes their money mainly from advertising. They routinely send me extra mailings with special offers - in addition to the regular ads in each issue. Those are solo ads!

If I don't like it - they are not going to give me my money back. In fact, I would be lucky if I could make them stop sending the magazine before the subscription ran out.

Online ezines are published to build a mailing list. This is no secret. Most publishers don't do all that work out of the goodness of their hearts. They are in business! The subscriber base is a controlled list of possible buyers for whatever product/service the publisher is marketing.

For the most part, publishers try to give good - and valuable - content. Very few charge for their ezines so this information is FREE to the subscriber. Can you imagine what you would have to pay for the information you receive in a free ezine if you purchased it in training courses?

As a publisher, I have repeatedly refused to accept "Solo" ads to send to my readers. I only send out extra mailings if I believe it's something my readers really need to know about. However, I have no problem at all with publishers who DO accept solo ads. Advertisers want these ads because they are more likely to be read than a small 5 line ad in the middle of an ezine.

A couple of minutes of my time to read an extra ad sent by a publisher who is providing me with valuable information and/or entertainment every week is a small price to pay for what I'm getting without charge.

Putting out a good ezine every week is a lot of hard work! Expecting an ezine publisher to teach us and/or entertain us - then complaining about the occasional extra ad (or even "too many" ads in an issue) is like the people who go to a free Happy Hour buffet - eat 50 bucks worth of free food - then bitch because they have to serve themselves.

Ezines were not designed for the sole delight of the subscribers who receive this information for free - then complain about it. They were not designed by publishers to have something to fill up their time - make them crazy - and give them a lot of guff.

I saw a fairly new publisher having this problem, last week. Publishers don't need the, “How DARE you!” rhetoric from subscribers over an occasional advertising special mailing. Time to grow up!

An electronic magazine - as with any print magazine - is a vehicle for profit. The trade off with a free ezine is MORE than fair to the subscriber! You get the free information - the publisher gets the exposure for advertising. Extra ads are part of the deal unless otherwise stated.

Is there anything you can do about it? Sure there is. Learn to live with it, or stop taking the gift of the free information the ezine offers you.

Getting Your Ezine Delivered

I'm asking all my newsletter subscribers to validate their subscriptions, this week. It's a simple matter of clicking a link in an email. It effectively causes the subscriber to RE-subscribe.

Those of you who have done this with your own ezines, in the past, may wonder why I do this. Especially since we all know my numbers will decrease by anywhere from 50% to about 75%.

The reason is this ...

From Mark McCreary of (my email delivery service):

“It improves our reputation at the ISP's, where they know how many emails we deliver and how many are opened. Having a poor ratio of opened mails can cause delivery problems for all of our lists.

Some ISPs take old abandoned accounts, and consider them spam trap addresses - meaning that any email received is labeled as spam. So even though that person joined your list using the confirmed opt-in process, and never bothered to unsubscribe, we get blamed for being a spammer.

It also reduces the amount of times people report your email as spam. Since they are no longer getting it, so they can not click on the "Report as Spam" button. Again, this improves our reputation at the ISPs, as they monitor the ratio of deliveries to email reported as spam.

The industry wide average for email addresses going bad is 3 to 5 percent per month. That means over the course of a year, half of your subscribers have abandoned that email account. And since most ISPs now have very large or even unlimited mail boxes, we do not get back bounce messages telling us their mailbox is full.”

In addition, my total number of subscribers has no meaning. The only meaning is in the number of my readers! Cleaning the list makes delivery to those readers even more assured.

I've also shortened the email version of the newsletter. AOL only delivers an email up to 15KB in size. It used to be 20 KB. And, they didn't even bother to consult me when they changed it! Umph!

BTW - if you need a new email service, I HIGHLY recommend Mark and I've found I don't NEED all the bells and whistles of some of the other services. What we ALL need is DELIVERY!

Nope - not an affiliate of this service. I simply recommend it. Did YOU know about this information from the ISPs?

How to Get Your Newsletter Read

I'm a HUGE believer in email marketing - always have been. I don't believe it will EVER be replaced - not by blogs, RSS, social networks or anything else.

Problem is, due to the spam filters, things have changed in the world of email. It appears to be very difficult to get your email delivered. It's why so many folks have given up on sending ezines.

BAD mistake!

I learned a couple of things in just one week of using a blog ONLY. I wanted to be able to stop concerning myself with whether every issue got by the spam filters - especially when I refuse to word-check for the ISPs.

When I gave that further thought, I remembered something I already knew. I use an email service that has a 99% delivery. has a reputation with the ISPs that relieves me of that worry.

If I need to make adjustments, Mark McCreary, owner of, lets me know. This man is a pro - not a rinky-dink internet marketer list service. I know it, and the ISPs know it. So, I get delivered.

What Do Subscribers Want?

This is the question that blows me away. I will soon have 11 years of weekly ezine publishing. There isn't much I haven't tried in that period of time, so I feel like an expert on the subject.

I've done multiple surveys on the issue of how subscribers wish to read. When asked, they'll say they prefer to read it online - every time.

However, when given a choice of either reading online, or requesting an autoresponder for the full issue, response level falls off. Usually, only those who want to keep issues ever click for the autoresponder.

But, surprisingly, very few subs go to the website, either. It may be a matter of thinking, “I'll read it when I have a few minutes ...” and we all know how that goes!

Even sending a notice with a Table of Contents - or a “teaser” - via email, with a link to an online version, cuts my response rate.

When given the choice of having the full issue delivered - with a link to an online version - I get the greatest response. Why?

Because, no matter what folks think they want, they are actually most apt to read a full issue once it's put in right in front of them in their email inbox!

I know this for a fact! I can check the site stats and see how few go to the online version, yet my over-all response is greater than any other type of delivery when I just provide a link in a FULL email version of the newsletter.

Of course, I COULD prove that by sending the issue in HTML. Then, I could count how many are “opened.” Even though many companies do this, Mark tells me the ISPs still tell HIM they block HTML at a much greater rate than text messages. So, why lower my delivery rate?

Why did I bother to put up a blog? It seems to have become necessary for article marketing.

When I write the Journal as an email issue, I feel like I'm just writing a letter to friends - because I am. On the blog, I feel I need to write in a more formal manner because of the strangers who will come along and read it.

Four Things to do for Best Response to an Ezine

  • Use an EXCELLENT delivery service with at LEAST a 98% delivery rate
  • Send a full issue via email - in TEXT
  • Add a link at the top to an online version
  • Be personal so your readers will grow to know you
That's it! It IS that simple! You might want to check your text for filter trigger words. But, if you use a reputable enough email service, it isn't really necessary.

Which Brings Us to RSS

I've never had any use for RSS. I've used RSS many times to be notified of someone's blog updates. All that happens is the updates go to my bookmarks.

Weeks or months later, while in the bookmarks, I see the blog has 50 entries I never knew about! They were silently placed in my bookmarks.

Do I read them all to catch up? Absolutely not!

You may have noticed, although everyone seems to have a blog, they nearly ALWAYS send you a direct email when they're selling something. Why do you think that is?

NOTHING beats email for response rate!

Article Copyrights

Creative Commons License
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
To re-publish articles by jl scott from this site, please include the following byline - with live links - after each article you use.

-----> Begin

* dr. jl scott is the Founder of Chamber of Commerce - on the Web™ - and also the publisher of the Online Business Trade Journal™ - the blog that keeps you up to date with online business coming of age. Visit:

-----> End

Syndicate content

C of C Solutions Web Hosting
"Web Hosting for Online Business Sites"